EXCLUSIVE: Los Zetas Cartel Builds Big Data Surveillance System on Mexican Border City

CDN Los Zetas
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Los Zetas Cartel checkpoints in the border city of Nuevo Laredo are linked to more than 100 forced disappearances–including the recent kidnapping of three U.S. citizens. The checkpoints exist with complete impunity and are part of a complex strategy to give the criminal organization more control by harvesting the data of those stopped at the roadblocks.

Breitbart Texas consulted with U.S. law enforcement agents in Mexico who are working the case of a missing Texas family from earlier this month as they were traveling from a town in Nuevo Leon to the border city of  Nuevo Laredo. 39-year-old Gladys Cristina Perez Sanchez traveled with her 16-year-old son, Juan Carlos Gonzales, and her 9-year-old daughter, Cristina Duran, when they went missing. The current theory is the family encountered a cartel checkpoint. In 2021, authorities have documented close to 100 similar cases in and around Nuevo Laredo–prime Los Zetas turf.

Authorities from both sides of the border shared with Breitbart Texas exclusive information about a complex intelligence apparatus used by the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas to exert complete control of their territories. The region is under the cartel command of Juan Gerardo “El Huevo” Trevino Chavez.

The cartel operation uses lookouts and informants placed in strategic turf locations. Those individuals call in suspicious vehicles or persons who then intercepted.

The gunmen interrogate the disappeared about their identities, where they are traveling, and why. The gunmen also order motorists to unlock their cell phones and check their social media. The cartel operators reportedly can quickly clone a phone they deem suspicious for deeper data mining.

The information is relayed to a central network of radio, phone, and database operators, similar to a 911 call center. Authorities share grave concern about how CDN-Los Zetas has created a database which mimics government ones loaded with property records, license information, and other contents.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     

Gerald “Tony” Aranda is an international journalist with more than 20 years of experience working in high-risk areas for print and broadcast news outlets investigating organized crime, corruption, and drug trafficking in the U.S. and Mexico.  In 2016, Gerald took up the pseudonym of “Tony” when he joined Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project. Since then, he has come out of the shadows and become a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.


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